Driving Transformational Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting 2SLGBTQI+ Organizations

The Enchanté Network

Year: 2021

Community-based and nonprofit organizations country-wide rely on grants, donations, and funding in order to be able to provide expert services to their communities. In the case of 2SLGBTQ+ organizations, access to core, project, and capacity building funding — and thus the ability to provide essential services — is limited due to significant barriers around funding eligibility, criteria, and availability. This lack of funding negatively affects the ability to protect and promote the human rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people. The Enchanté Network strives to fill the funding related shortfalls experienced by 2SLGBTQ+ organizations by coherently identifying gaps and substantively filling them.

One related initiative is the companion document to this report: 2SLGBTQ+ Funding Opportunities: A Scan of Governmental and Foundation Grants. This funding scan analyzes key funding opportunities that explicitly state how their eligibility criteria is open to 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations.

It is statistically proven that 2SLGBTQ+ communities experience increased vulnerabilities related to mental and physical health, employment, housing, and social connection. There is also evidence that 2SLGBTQ+ people are less inclined to access services aimed at the general population due to latent and overt oppression, homophobia, transphobia, and cisnormativity. Conversely, there is both better reception and improved outcomes when 2SLGBTQ+ people are able to access 2SLGBTQ+ organizations and service providers (at times further tailored to racialized and Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ people), demonstrating that 2SLGBTQ+ organizations fill an important gap in Canada’s service landscape. Chronic underfunding of 2SLGBTQ+ organizations hurts gender and sexually diverse people and demonstrates a missed opportunity for funders to drive equitable, intersectional, and sustainable change in order of everyone within the country, especially those who are the most marginalized, to exact their full potential.

The funding landscape only changes at the hands of grantmakers and so this report is primarily directed at government funders, including federal, provincial, and municipal bodies. At the same time, the recommendations identified here are applicable to a broader audience, aiming to improve the funding processes and procedures of all grantmakers.

In order to create a funding landscape that is accessible and available to 2SLGBTQ+ organizations, this report relies on statistical data and the lived experiences of the Enchanté Network’s 160 member organizations. This report proposes the following recommendations for confronting and overcoming the myriad of funding barriers faced by 2SLGBTQ+ organizations:

  1. Engage 2SLGBTQ+ organizations in the development of funding criteria and in the evaluation of grant programs;
  2. Work collaboratively with existing 2SLGBTQ+ networks to disseminate information and opportunities to frontline 2SLGBTQ+ organizations;
  3. Prioritize funding for Black, Indigenous, and racialized 2SLGBTQ+;
  4. Collect and publicly share disaggregated demographic data;
  5. Include unincorporated organizations as eligible applicants;
  6. Create inclusive eligibility criteria that doesn’t entrench the gender binary or colonial notions of gender;
  7. Offer low barrier and accessible grants;
  8. Ensure that all salary allocations conform to living wage standards;
  9. Reduce siloed funding opportunities and portfolios;
  10. Place increased emphasis on projects that directly support 2SLGBTQ+ people;
  11. Include flexible timelines; and
  12. Determine reasonable reporting requirements in consultation with 2SLGBTQ+ organizations.